Tue, 27 Sep 2011 17:07:07 -0700
I'm somewhat ridiculously pleased with myself: I'm drinking an Old
Fashioned on a plane, which I just made for myself in a baby 6-oz.
shaker, with simple syrup and Angostura bitters brought through
security in labeled, under-3-oz. little glass droppers and bottles.
It's too sweet (N.B.: less simple next time), and is wanting a lemon
twist, but hey, not bad for a first attempt at DIY SFO-LHR.
The simple syrup was left over from my birthday party on Friday -- I'd
made a whole jarful, then filtered it into two spouted bottles, and
gotten the rest of the amenities (some borrowed from TQ's stash; some
ordered last-minute on Amazon) for six easy drinks, plus one secret
cocktail (the Aviation seems to hold a special place in my heart). I
shuffled all my commitments -- rearranged opera tickets; re-booked
flights -- so I could have Friday night free to invite everyone over
(my initial idea of "an intimate dinner party" turned, of course, into
a catered, dolled-up, late-night soirée) to firmly establish me
in my fourth decade. (Last year was the milestone; this was the
affirmation.) I know it was a success by friends' comments the next
day on the drinks ("Who made me that cocktail? Whatever it was, it
was delicious!"), by reports of "the walking wounded," and by the
dents made, as my inspector warned, on my original 1885 Douglas Fir
softwood floors by guests' stilettos. (I feel guilty about that last
one.) Around 3:00am, we hung the final crystal from the base of the
chandelier, killed the last of the Bulleit, and attacked the leftover
mushroom pâté with renewed vigor. Now I call that a
I'm also ridiculously pleased with myself about that chandelier. That
whole closet, really. The closet started off beige -- the whole house
did! -- and, just last week, I transformed it: three walls are now a
glossy white; the back wall is a textured, large Damask-patterned
black-and-white wallpaper; a floor-to-ceiling mirror frames more than
the door, and reflects the crystal candelabra chandelier back through
the transom, through the portal into my bedroom, and all the way down
the length of the house, if the French doors to my bedroom are open.
Half the party on Friday took place in that closet: glamor shots,
friends touching the textured wallpaper, basking in the reflected
light of so many crystals into the giant mirror, down onto guests'
fabulous dresses and coiffures, refracting still further into their
(I fear I'm getting the keyboard of this new MacBook Air sticky by
futzing with the ice-to-cocktail ratio of my drink, and then going
back to typing. It wouldn't be the worst my work computers have seen
-- witness also the death-by-Mimosa of Spring 2010 of one MacBook Pro,
all in the name of Saturday-morning capacity.)
And (further pleasure!) somehow in the midst of this, there was (I
made) time for Mahler. Not just listening, as has been the wont of
late -- champagne at intermission; pretty dress and lipstick -- but
singing. Did I mention that, last spring, I auditioned on a
whim for the San Francisco Symphony Chorus? And so here I am, sitting
through all but four minutes of the two-hour symphony, but in the
chorus balcony, under MTT, and singing the fifth movement as
loud as I can. Four times over. It's fewer notes than if I were in
the viola section, for sure; but on the other hand, I can keep my day
job. And this is no slouch!
It's performance-review time at work, when we write self-evaluations,
and then invite our peers to review us as well. I'm not up for
promotion this time, which makes the enumeration more straightforward
-- less of a hard sell in the prose, and more simply an honest list of
things I've done in the last year. I made the list on my birthday
last Tuesday, and it's a good one. And personally speaking, I haven't
done poorly, either: London, Hawaii, Mexico; bought a house,
transformed it into a thing of beauty; behaved as honestly and
grown-up-ly as I could; made cocktails on a plane.
I'm officially enjoying my thirties.